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of the season the island buzzes and hip venues overflow withsparkling celebrities from Hollywood and Manhattan, all ofwhom head straight for the unfailingly cool places, such as theIsle de France hotel, the beachside Sand Bar at Eden Rock, orLe Select in the island's capital of Gustavia. There are two ways to arrive in St Barths, and both are equallyglamorous. You can sail in on your yacht from another island andwatch as the tiny dot on the horizon gradually looms larger as red-roofed houses and green hills zoom into view. Alternatively, youcan opt for a nerve-racking but exhilarating flight. The airportrunway is tucked behind a hill and is the second shortest in theworld - the shortest being that on the nearby island of Saba. Asyou come in to land, the small plane glides over the hilltops atgrass-skimming level, then suddenly drops to the runway over-looking the island's most popular beach of St Jean. St Barths has a stretch of sand for every mood and taste: pristineGrande Saline for nature lovers and naturists; Toni for surfers;hip St Jean for glamour; Flamands for a silent stroll at sunset;Lorient or Shell Beach for a dozy Sunday with the family; andGrand Cul de Sac for gentle water sports. The capital, Gustavia, resembles a mini Bond Street or FifthAvenue, with high-end boutiques including Louis Vuitton?aboardashoreWINTER 2012I sea&iI57Opposite page:cruiseinto Antigua and strollashore for historic sights and fun bars Above: with so manybeaches in the Leewards,you're sure to find adeserted spot on whichto throw down a towelalso has much to offer guests, not least of which is a nail-biting,zip-wire ride through the rainforest. The surrounding underwater world is worth exploring. Snorkelamong the neon-striped fish along the lengthy Paradise Reef offDickenson Bay, or dive into the underwater park at Cades Reef.You can also discover Antigua's Pillars of Hercules, a group ofcoral columns resembling an ancient Greek temple. Antigua is not known for its dining but the island does have afew culinary surprises. The open-air restaurant at Harmony Hallin Brown Bay serves fresh seafood dishes, while the AntiguaYacht Club Marina down in Falmouth Harbour favours an Italian-style menu. Carlisle Bay has two restaurants to choose from -East for Japanese, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese, and Indigo on theBeach for alfresco dining. The bay itself is one of the prettiestanchorages on the island. St Barths With its white, sandy beaches, opulent resorts and fabulousFrench cuisine, St Barths has the scenic beauty of a tropical idyllwrapped up in the glossy lifestyle of St Tropez. A tranquil retreat for much of the year, it comes alive duringthe holiday months when the jet set descend. During the heightST. MARTINANGUILLAANTIGUAST. KITTSNEVISBARBUDASABAST. EUSTATIUSST. BARTHELEMYGOAT ISLANDGustaviaPhilipsburgTINTAMARRE ISLAND SEAL ISLAND REEFSCRUB ISLANDMarigot BayBasse TerreThe NarrowsSt-Johns

58Isea&iIWINTER 2012LEEWARD ISLANDS' ITINERARY Creating a Leewards itinerary may seem daunting as there are somany islands and they cover such a vast area, but with a littleadvice from your Camper & Nicholsons charter broker you caneasily group your favourites in a compelling cruise.DAY1 St Martin - Anguilla (15nm) DAY2 Anguilla DAY3 Anguilla - St Barths (31nm) DAY4 St Barths DAY5 St Barths - Saba (28nm) DAY6 Saba - St Eustatius (18nm) DAY7 St Eustatius - St Kitts (19nm) DAY8 St Kitts - Nevis (11nm) DAY9 Nevis DAY10 Nevis - Barbuda (61nm) DAY11 Barbuda DAY12 Barbuda - Antigua (43nm) DAYS13 & 14 Antigua THE EXPERTS' ADVICE.Captain Emile Coetzee has been cruising in the Caribbean forseveral years and is now on board the 53.5m (175') Hurricane Run.Histop tip when cruising here is to begin your itinerary windwardand sail downwind from there, cruising from Antigua to St Barths.You can pretty much count on consistent trade winds. Meanwhile, Will Kaye, captain of the 46.7m (153') Big Aronrecommends lazy Sundays at St Barths' Nikki Beach, or hisfavourite Caribbean beach: Green Island on Antigua as it is afantastic spot for kitesurfing as well as being a great anchorage.and Ralph Lauren. This is the place to be berthed for New Year'sEve when fireworks and festivities continue all through the night. Unlike Antigua, St Barths takes its food very seriously and theisland is known for having the best chefs in the Caribbean.Reflecting the island's exotic multicultural history, dishes are amixture of French, Creole and Italian, while Asian and fusionare also popular choices. For French food, try Le Sapotiller inGustavia, Le Gaiac at Hotel Le Toiny, and On The Rocks at theEden Rock Hotel. Maya's is the place to head for French Creoledishes, while L'Espirit Saline serves a fusion menu that changesdaily. La Langouste is the place to go for fresh lobster. As one would expect, the island also has a number of chicbeach bars, including Nikki Beach on St Jean and Do Brazil onGustavia's Shell Beach. Le Yacht Club is perfect for a Mojito,before heading to hilltop nightspot Le Ti St Barth. Casa Nikkiis the place to let your hair down after hours.HURRICANE RUN53.5m (175'), 12 guestsfrom US$300,000 per week LAZY Z51.4m (168'7), 12 guestsfrom US$239,000 per week KOO42.9m (140'7), 8 guestsfrom US$100,000 per week